Matthew Charles Heulitt: Sonic Magician
AAJ: Do you get more satisfaction from composing or from performance?
MCH: They both ultimately end you up in the same placeself expression. We all have an innate need to express ourselves, to do what it is we came here to do. I feel like I was given an ability to give a voice to the spirit of music. We are so about ownership in this culture, and I inherently disagree with the idea that music that I play or compose is mine. It simply is, and when I have one of those fleeting moments where I feel like I've honored the spirit of music and been as honest as I can be about allowing that to flow through me, I feel completely content, radiant, grateful and inspired. It's always mysterious as to when and where those perfect moments happen, but the fact that they exist make all the lesser moments worthwhile.
AAJ: How do you feel when you are playing on stage on a good night?
MCH: I guess I just kind of answered that, but on a really great night I feel confident, playful, sexy, and uninhibited. I mean, I am a guitarist after all! [Laughs.]
AAJ: How would you define your relationship with music?
MCH: My commitment to music is built on artistry, discipline, sincerity and fun. I find that the musical path and spiritual path are one and the same, and each have taught me valuable lessons about the other. There are two kinds of music, good and bad: good being heartfelt, sincere and unique, bad being cookie- cutter, unoriginal, and/or poorly executed. I have a deep passion to play and continue my practice on a daily basis, and my biggest problem is finding the time to honor all of the different musical personalities and styles that interest me.
AAJ: A really fascinating band you play in is Moetar, which sounds like quite a special band with a very distinct musical personality. What's your take on the music? How did the band come about?
MCH: This band was conceived, for the most part, by Tarik Ragab. He and his wife Moorea Dickason asked me to be in the band almost two years ago, and we've played a handful of shows and ideally rehearse once a week. Some of the songs came together quickly, and others have required a ton of individual and group practice. It's definitely the most complicated music I've ever tried to pull off live, and the beautiful thing about it is that it ends up still being palatable to an audience. It is truly one of the most remarkable collections of musicians I've ever had the pleasure to work with. Not only is the music fun, challenging, hooky and edgy, but everybody is so open, inspired, and engaged. It's truly a rare occurrence. From These Small Seeds is our first release.
AAJ: The music of Moetar is, above all, daring and exciting. Do you feel we are living in an exciting age musically, creatively?
MCH: There are two ends of the spectrum, of course. On one end, music continues to be homogenized and sapped of anything redeeming, and on the other, thanks to technology and evolution, music is becoming more diverse and creative. I'm concerned about the lifespan of skillfully improvised music in America. Most of it seems to be in the form of jam bands, and anything more sophisticated goes over the heads of the average audience. It may just be a symptom of the changes caused by advancing technology. Perhaps one day soon, the true artists and magicians of sound will overwhelm us all with what's possible once again.
Moetar, From These Small Seeds (Self Produced, 2010)
Aaron Germain, Before You Go (Aaron Germain Muisc, 2010)
Pollux, For The Ghost (Self Produced, 2009)
Damien Masterson, All Over The Map (Good Omen, 2009)
J. Russell, For This I Rise (J. Russell Productions, 2009)
Sarah Eden Davis, Allies and Angels (Self Produced, 2009)
Matthew Charles Heulitt, Room to Run (Self Produced, 2009)
The Narada Band, Delightful (Narada Michael Walden, 2008)
Matthew Shoening, The Art Of Live Looping (Self Produced, 2008)
Eoin Harrington, Story (Self Produced, 2008)
Heather Lauren, Mosaic (Self Produced, 2007)
Radio Noise, These Constant Interruptions (Self Produced, 2007)
Various Artists, In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2 (Wrass Records, 2007)
Page 1: Margaret Jow
Page 3: Lisa Tannenbaum
All Other Photos: Courtesy of Matthew Charles Heulitt